When dealing with financial and economic phenomena it pays to remember that the further out in time you go the smaller will be the probability associated with any individual outcome.

The impetus for many arguments in Washington seem to range along a scale encompassing speculation on one end to fact or near fact at the other. And when dealing with finance and economic phenomena it seems that concerns for the speculation almost always win out regardless of the facts or near facts.

For instance, debt ceiling talks. Republicans are driving by the notion of no more debt because it might come to pass that some day at some point in the future a myriad of facts and circumstances might align making it onerous for the Country to make its debt payments. Our quality of life will be duly impaired.

Yet at the same time financial markets around the world have already shown signs of fear stemming from a potential US default and credit rating agencies have stated publicly that they are getting ready to lower the boom at any minute - sending interest rates up - if Washington doesn’t get its ducks in a row within the next 8 days. This will impair the quality of life of a great many American’s who are not fortunate enough to be bailed out.

Moral: Horn of Uncertainty (look it up) fact or something that is in the process of becoming a fact in the very near future has a greater degree of certainty associated with it than speculation about something that might take place at some unspecified point in the future - provided, of course, that a whole slue of extenuating circumstances come to fruition.

I am seeing way to many violations of this simple financial and economic principle coming out of Washington these days.

Don’t give greater weight to a financial or economic position based upon speculation than an argument whose main premises either has come true, is currently coming true or is in the process of unfolding.


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